September 21, 2014
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‘Hot’ dogs no treat for animal lovers

Ann Diffley checked her smart phone for the temperature Tuesday at about 5:30 p.m. It read 89 degrees, and that was outside.

She thought the temperature inside the car parked at Lowe’s on Greenwich Avenue could be higher, even though it was partially shaded by a tree. There was no way of knowing without opening the car door.

In the car’s front seat was a dog, a boxer. It looked alert and healthy. The windows were open about three inches for some air circulation, but she worried.

She knew temperatures in parked cars can rise abruptly and, although the pet’s owner planned to be in and out of a store in minutes, the animal could face heat exhaustion. She also knew Warwick ordinances forbid people from leaving animals in cars unattended. She called police but continued to monitor the dog, just in case.

In this situation, the dog’s owner left before police arrived, but Dennis Tabella, of Defenders of Animals, reminded pet owners to pay extra attention during heat waves when he heard of the incident yesterday.

“Dog temperatures are higher than humans,” he said, pointing out dogs, as well as cats, can be especially susceptible to heat.

“I know dogs love to go for rides,” he said, “but when the heat is up, they [pet owners] have to be careful.”

“You can leave the windows open and put on the air conditioner, but they just can’t handle the heat,” he continued.

It was Ward 4 Councilman Joseph Solomon who introduced the legislation prohibiting leaving pets unattended in motor vehicles. Solomon worked with Tabella in drafting the ordinance and lobbied for its passage.

Tabella said there are similar ordinances in Cranston, Providence and East Providence.

“We’re looking to do it in every city,” said Tabella. “We’re looking for state legislation.”

He acknowledged that wouldn’t happen this year, as the General Assembly winds down. Next year, he said, former Senator John Tassoni Jr. will be working with Defenders of Animals to pass a state law. Tassoni was behind legislation that makes it an offense to tie up a dog 24/7 without food, water and shelter.

“I think people have to be very cognizant of putting animals in their car,” Tassoni said when reached for a telephone interview. Even when driving with a pet, he said it is important that they have water.

“It’s like leaving a child in a car with this heat; you wouldn’t do that,” he said.

He said small dogs can be especially susceptible to heat. Because he left the Senate less than a year ago, he won’t be able to lobby until the next General Assembly sits. Next year, he will be working with Defenders of Animals.

“Some of these laws need to be tightened up. Dogs are being tied up in blazing heat,” he said.

Tabella suggested pet owners be attentive and ensure their pets stay cool. He did not recommend spraying down a dog that seemed to be suffering from heat; that could be a sudden shock.

Since the first of the year, police have issued five citations for leaving pets in cars unattended. The citations require a mandatory appearance in municipal court.


Comments
4 comments on this item

The appearance in municipal court should not only include a hefty fine but they should be put in the car in a parking lot with a fur coat or even a light jacket on for 15 minutes with the window cracked or opened to the same amount that they left their dog in. I don't think these people think it is that bad and I don't think most do it to be cruel, some may do it because the dog loves going for a ride but WTH.....Have you ever sat at the red light in a car without air conditioning....Those 2-3 minutes are torture and every window is usually wide open!

Obviously the laws that are in place do no good. The stupido's keep doing it. There's way to much information out there about this. TV, internet newspaper and just conversation to let one think it's not done without knowing. There's a certain class of people that think it doesn't apply to them and no one's going to tell them what to do ..That's the truth of the matter. Zero tolerance with a hefty fine and the animal is taken until a hearing.NO EXCEPTIONS. There are so many signs flyer's and a cazillion posts on Facebook and elsewhere .Everyone of them are either begging people to not leave animals(or children) in hot cars or are so nicely worded . Thing's like "Only an idiot would leave their pet in a hot car. Don't be one! " and " If you're stupid enough to leave your pet in a hot car , You shouldn't have one . " or maybe one that might work is "Leaving your pet in a hot car will get you a night in jail a large fine and you might lose your right to have a pet. Zero tolerance means exactly that. Sound's mean and insensitive? It should!. Above all this should already apply to those who leave their children in the car too. There is NO excuse for either. The cops and shelter can do just so much without laws to back them. People who take the , it's not my business attitude and don't make the call to police or shelter when they see this happening are just as bad. .They have a choice of knowing a life was saved or lost because of their decision. To the powers that be" Why does this law have to wait until next year? What is your reasoning?

so they're looking to pass another law sating can't leave dogs in a car at all. good grief, this country is becoming a police state, one new law at a time.

Know you can't throw a frisbee or have a beach ball at the beach anymore?

If there weren't so many idiot's leaving their dogs in hot cars that law wouldn't have to be and that's just plain sad .The speed at which the temperature rises and the outcome is the equivalent of putting them in a hot oven. I can't wait for that law . I only hope the consequences are steep and severe. No wrist slapping. A responsible person does NOT leave a dog in a hot car.

Beach balls and Frisbees banned from beaches. Sad but necessary. People don't know enough to not throw Frisbees on a crowed beach and ends up with some pretty nasty injuries of innocent by standers. Beach balls, small children , water and irresponsible parents who don't watch them as they go out in deep water after their ball do not mix . Maybe the state got tired of people putting the blame on them and suing .It's so unfair and unfortunate for all the responsible people that it's come to this.Don't blame the state for making the laws .Blame those who have forced them to do so.

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